I am re-reading( or more like studying) a great book by Carolyn Mahaney titled Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother. It is especially meaningful to me since Carolyn was a pastor's wife for 25 years.
The opening chapter describes a mandate to older women from Titus 2 to train or teach the younger women the seven virtues listed in Titus 2:3-5. I love the final paragraph in the first chapter, "Can you conceive of anything that sets for the the beauty of the gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have received it? Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adores her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husband's leadership-for all the days God grants her life. I dare say there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance. This is true feminine appeal."
As a young wife and mother I longed to understand my role. I had so many conflicting voices in my life. Most of them were well meaning, but very few if any were biblical. I struggled through many years of discouragement and even depression at times in an effort to understand "what" and "who" I was suppose to be. A successful career looked good, but I had a longing to be at home. I was a smart and capable woman, able to make decisions on my own, so why did I need to submit to my husband's leadership? I wanted a warm and peaceful home, but had no clue how to get there. I loved children and wanted a house full, but never expected motherhood to be so completely draining at times and I began to wonder, "What am I doing?".
Today I am so thankful for God's patience and gentle loving guidance in my life. Through the years he placed women in my life who exhibited the qualities of a Godly woman that I needed at that time. I learned through direct contact, watching, listening, observing, and especially reading. I am amazed at the path God has used in my life. I recently wrote a tribute to a friend who more than anyone else exemplified these qualities.
Kim has been my mentor for close to 15 years. It was not an intentional relationship. It started with a desire on my part to be a Godly woman, wife, and mother. I was hungry for practical tools and wisdom in every area of my life. Kim (as a slightly older woman) took an interest in me. She had to be patient and long-suffering as she gently let me know over time that she was my friend. Her example did not come through long lectures, or spouting off scripture and knowledge, but rather through genuine concern and a daily example of living her life to the Glory of God. She lived out Titus 2 and encouraged me to do the same. When I walked through several difficult seasons, she was there to listen, encourage me not to give up and to share hope. She wasn’t just there, she literally held my hand. When I needed help in my home, she never hesitated to step in. She would give me things when I knew she didn’t have it to give. She trusted God completely. She offered to keep my little ones, even though her kids were older. She sent me notes of encouragement! And most importantly I stand here today in front of you because of her nudging and pushing me out in front of the ladies of our church. She saw in me what I would have never seen in myself. She promoted me and encouraged me. Over time our relationship developed into friendship in which I desired to be there for her. Today we are “friends”, even though distance prevents it from being what I desire. Kim will always be my mentor, friend, and a Godly example of Titus 2.
Through the years so many of my questions have been answered. My life and especially my thinking has been completely transformed by Titus 2. And the greatest understanding I have gained is the purpose for the virtues listed in Titus 2; that the gospel may go forth. It is not for me to look better, but rather that others may know and see our lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.